Are You Taking the Right Dose of Astaxanthin?
You’ve probably heard about astaxanthin recently, and how this potent supplement is gaining popularity for its numerous benefits. If you’ve already added it to your diet, then good for you. You’re taking advantage of its unique characteristics to improve your health. But how do you know if you’re taking the correct dosage of it? And are you getting enough of it for it to be effective?
There’s plenty of misinformation going around about how much astaxanthin you should be taking and how to get the maximum benefits from this supplement. So let’s clear that up by examining the correct dosage you should be taking, and why. But before we discuss dosage, let’s examine this nutrient more closely.
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, which is a naturally occurring pigment found in marine plants and animals. They are molecules that give plants their yellow, orange, and red colors. Considered the king of carotenoids, astaxanthin packs a strong antioxidant punch to protect your body against harmful free radicals and oxidation. Like other carotenoids, astaxanthin can’t be synthesized by humans or animals, so diet is the only way to get it. Its highest natural concentration is in algae and wild salmon. Unlike other carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lutein, it’s not found in vegetables, so taking an astaxanthin supplement is important.
What are its benefits?
Because it’s an antioxidant, astaxanthin naturally reduces free radicals in the body. It has the highest antioxidant activity among carotenoids—three to five times greater than lutein—so it’s most effective at tracing free radicals. Astaxanthin is also fat soluble with water-soluble ends on it, so it goes into cell membranes and protects fatty acids from oxidizing. In addition to its antioxidant power, it provides UV protection, which makes it an effective supplement for eye health. It also improves blood flow, lowers oxidative stress, and promotes the body’s cellular health. Though some recommend high doses of astaxanthin, it’s completely unnecessary.
How much of it should you take?
So with all those unique benefits, you should just load up on astaxanthin, right? Wrong!
First of all, astaxanthin is an expensive supplement. It’s not found in most food sources, so you have to get it in supplement form. It’s extracted from algae, and the extraction process is costly. The more you use, the more you’ll have to buy, and that will take a chunk out of your budget.
Second, you don’t need a huge dose for it to be effective. You should aim to get the maximum benefit with the minimum dose. I like to call it “right dosing.” I recommend taking 1-4 milligrams of astaxanthin a day. That’s all you need. If you’re very active and involved in high-performance athletic activity, then you can take up to 4 milligrams because you have a higher metabolism. But if you’re more sedentary and spend a lot of time in an office setting, 1 milligram a day will do.
Because astaxanthin is a fat-soluble antioxidant, it goes into the fat tissue of your body, and there isn’t much depletion. It tends to build up in your body. It has a half-life of 16 hours, which means it slowly builds up in your blood, and even with a very low dose, it will get to concentration max (CMAX).For example, if you take 2 milligrams of astaxanthin, after 16 hours, 1 milligram will still remain. So if you take 2 milligrams every 24 hours, it will continue to accumulate more and more. Astaxanthin is very safe, so the accumulation isn’t harmful. But if you take higher doses, you just reach concentration max much faster, which is unnecessary, and not to mention wasteful!
How to take it?
To get the most benefits of astaxanthin, you need to make sure your body is absorbing in properly.
Because astaxanthin has fatty acids attached to it, it’s nearly impossible for your body to absorb it by itself. That’s why I recommend taking an astaxanthin supplement that also includes a phospholipid, such as chia oil or perilla oil, which act as carriers to disperse the supplement in your gut.
You can also eat a soft-boiled egg with the supplement, as the phospholipids in the egg will help you absorb the astaxanthin. Astaxanthin has incredible benefits, but when it comes to this supplement, less is more. Remember, all you need is 1-4 milligrams a day for it to be effective. Any amount more, you’re just wasting the supplement, and worse, wasting your money!